Amazon is reportedly accusing the Future Group of insider trading in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), saying that Reliance Retail was improperly informed of an emergency arbitrator’s order staying a deal between the retail conglomerate and Reliance. The development was first reported by Reuters. The tussle between Amazon and the Future Group over the retail conglomerate’s planned acquisition by Reliance Retail has blown up of late, with both sides making arguments for hours before the Delhi High Court. In court, Amazon is being represented by Gopal Subramanium and Future is being represented by Harish Salve.
Amazon had obtained an emergency arbitration order blocking the Future Group’s sale of its retail, logistics, warehousing and wholesale businesses to Reliance Retail, arguing that a 2019 deal that it signed with Future Coupons, the promoter entity of the Future Group, gave it a right to block the transaction. Future proceeded anyway, arguing that the arbitration order had no jurisdiction in India, and that provisions of Indian law concerning arbitration did not provide for emergency orders from arbitration centres.
In an earlier letter to SEBI, Amazon reportedly attacked the Future Group’s statements to stock exchanges saying that the deal would proceed in spite of arbitration, saying that making such filings “is against public interest, misleads public shareholders … as well as perpetuates a fraud for the benefit of the Biyanis alone”. “Please do not allow this American giant to kill Future Group, that’s its game — that if I can’t get it, let Reliance not get it too,” Harish Salve reportedly told the Delhi High Court. The deal between Reliance and Future Group is worth ₹24,713 crores.